The final act of “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” was supposed to be very different. This is according to the film’s director and star, William Shatner. For years, Shatner has been discussing what he had planned for “Star Trek V” and why it didn’t work out the way he anticipated.
“I got the chance to direct a several-million-dollar movie, Star Trek V, and I did not get the help I needed in allocating my budget, so when it came to shooting the ending — needing a good villain and lots of computer graphics — I had run out of money,” Shatner said on the television show “Better Late Than Never.”
“I had to use footage that I had already shot — and spit on it a lot. I wanted to give [the audience] earth-breaking granite monsters spewing rocks and fire,” Shatner said on the show (as reported by CinemaBlend). “Instead, I had a few pebbles in my hand that I threw at the camera.”
While audiences were unaware that there were supposed to be “granite monsters” in the film, it must have been obvious that something was missing. In the summer of 1989, when “Star Trek V” debuted, fans had many action or science fiction films to choose from, including “Lethal Weapon 2,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “Ghostbusters II,” “Batman” and even “Weird Al” Yankovic’s cult hit, “UHF.” Entering this crowded field, “Star Trek V” was a casualty and had the lowest opening weekend of any Trek film to that point, according to Box Office Mojo.
Since then, both Shatner and Trek fans have openly wondered if Paramount would ever allow the director of “Star Trek V” to go back into the edit bay, and fix some of the film’s problems. A 2020 article on Trek Report covered just that, as fans urged Shatner to go back to Paramount and ask for the funds to fix his film and realize what could have been.
One Trek fan tweeted that “there’s a great movie in there” as he rallied others to support the “Release The Shatner Cut” movement. After Shatner tweeted about the anniversary of his film’s release, he commented on “The Shatner Cut” conversation, saying that if God was not available, “maybe we can ask Alex Kurtzman.” Kurtzman is the executive producer of all things “Star Trek.”
Shatner on ‘The Shatner Cut’
Fans interested in some of what Shatner had planned for the final chapter can look no further than YouTube. Thanks to the account of Japanese Trek fan Uchuu Daisakusen, folks can see the development and some deleted footage from the Rockmen. Actually, there was just one of the Rockmen which was ever made, so it would be “Rockman” footage.
Rockman footage from ‘Star Trek V’
According to the clips posted by Daisakusen, the Rockmen (or man) never made it into the final cut of the theatrical version of the movie. But a new fan theory suggests that the much-talked-about Rockmen actually did make it in, and they are pointing to some of the newly released Ultra High Definition 4K Blu-ray release of “Star Trek V.”
Thanks to the Instagram post of the StarTrekTOSTributePage account, fans can judge for themselves if there was a Rockman in “Star Trek V.” Thanks to the hard work of Daren Dochterman and other film experts, the 4K restoration of the Trek films featuring the TOS cast are in the best shape possible.
While the restored version of the footage reveals a figure below in the cliff area, it’s hard to say if that is a Rockman. It could be a stunt performer or a pyrotechnics operator who was there to help ignite the fireworks for the scene.
In the comments section, one fan added, “At last! Long live the RockMan!”